Suppose you have been injured in a car or truck accident in the Upstate of South Carolina, and you’re thinking about filing a personal injury claim. It’s completely normal to wonder how much you can expect from your claim—especially when medical bills are piling up. As you’re looking for solutions, you may come across a common tool known as the personal injury calculator. While these are quick and can be found with a simple Google search, the big question is: Do they really work?
Let’s take a look at how personal injury settlement calculators work and if they really are worth your effort and time.
How an Injury Claim Calculator Works
When using most personal injury settlement calculators, you’ll be asked to provide your “special damages” number. This is simply the total cost you have as a result of your accident, such as hospital bills, prescription costs, lost income, and repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle. Next, you’ll be asked to provide a “general damages” number (a number between 1.5 and 5) that will be multiplied by your “special damages” to put a monetary value on your general damages (emotional trauma, pain, or decreased quality of life). The accuracy of your settlement number will depend on the accuracy of the information given. Still, unfortunately, PI calculators do not take many personal variables into account.
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The Issue With Claim Calculators
Even though personal injury calculators are a fast way to calculate possible settlement amounts, claim calculators will not always give an accurate number because they don’t account for individual details such as occupation, lifestyle, and type of treatment provided. For example, a secretary with a broken arm and a professional basketball player with a broken arm will not have the same settlement outcome. This is because the secretary could heal and possibly still do some work while recovering from the injury. However, the basketball player will have a significant loss of income while recovering and may even have to change careers as a result. (Insert prayers for your favorite ballplayer to never, ever get injured!)
While this is only one example, each case is unique, so we ALWAYS recommend talking to a personal injury lawyer. It’s not a bad idea to try out a calculator, but we always recommend ALSO talking to a good lawyer. A personal injury lawyer will have the necessary knowledge, training, and experience to handle your specific case and get you the settlement that you deserve.
Why Injury Calculators Sometimes Aren’t Accurate
The problem with valuing a personal injury case based on a computer algorithm is that it cannot take into account the necessary intrinsic and extrinsic factors like a jury could. After all, the right to a civil jury trial has long been part of our law. And for a good reason.
A jury is often called a “trier of fact” that will consider claims and assign value to them in ways that simply cannot be calculated from a website plugin. The jury is deputized to hear from a victim and assess credibility, including how a victim’s true pain and suffering should be valued. Think about it this way—what a stubbed toe feels like for you might feel different to someone else. A jury needs to decide what that means to that specific victim. In doing so, the jury is considering many factors that are not capable of being reduced to a code or robot—even R2D2 can’t figure out what a jury will do during proper deliberations!
A calculator simply cannot reason. Nor can a website. Nor can a genie or mirror (depending on what kind of genies you know…)
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To sum it up, a claim calculator isn’t a terrible starting point, but an experienced personal injury lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina, like ours, could help give you a much better estimate. We know that settlement calculators can be “convenient,” but here at the Hammack Law Firm, we prefer a personal touch. In or out of the courtroom, we handle our cases as we would want our family treated—and with the extensive knowledge of personal injury laws and the necessary experience in trial, our skilled attorneys can sort out all legal matters so you can focus on recovery. Give us a call today. Our team of lawyers in Greenville, SC, would love to talk to you and see how we can help!